Need help making my bass guitar clearer

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Member Since: Dec 06, 2005

New member here...

The bass guitar in my song is not coming through clearly at all like I want it to. If I turn it up enough to hear the individual notes, it's got too much bottom-end. If I lower the bottom end via EQ, it gets too "tinty". I want those individual notes on the bass to stand out, but not overpower everything else.

Any advice on doing that?

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Since: Apr 03, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 02:36 pm

Welcome to HRC

Don't cut the lows, scoop out the mids, leave the highs and lows in place. Scoop out around 300-400 hz...a nice gradual bell curve.

Since: Dec 06, 2005

Dec 06, 2005 02:49 pm

Sweet. I'll give that a shot. Thanks.

Also, I just read the article "notching out" with the EQ...


I understand the concept, but my only question is how do I find which frequencies my individual tracks/instruments are using? In other words, how can I get a visual of the frequencies of the tracks so I'll know where to notch out each one?

Make sense?

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 02:54 pm

Yes, that makes can do that a few ways. One, a very common way, is to view each track in a frequency analyzer, see what it's strongest frequencies are and move the other tracks out of the way in those bands...

My favorite app, HarBal, can actually do that as well, but most tracking apps come with some sort of visual frequency analyzer, so you shouldn't need to buy anything new...

That article you read is awesome, great info there...use that knowledge.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Dec 06, 2005 03:08 pm

Other's have recommended Voxengo's Span as a good frequency viewer. It runs as a VST, I believe. I haven't tried it yet, but hear it's good (and free).

Certainly, it won't do what HarBal can do, but it may help you get to the solution you're looking for.

Since: Dec 06, 2005

Dec 06, 2005 03:10 pm

Will do. I've been using Cool Edit Pro v2, which has a variety of EQ goodies on it, but I'm not sure what to look for to find a frequency analyzer. Is there a standard name for that other than "frequency analyzer" which I should look for?

Since: Dec 06, 2005

Dec 06, 2005 03:13 pm

Found it. There's a Frequency Analyzer on the "Analyzer" menu (of all places) ;)

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 03:14 pm

imagine that!

Since: Nov 28, 2005

Dec 06, 2005 04:36 pm

Hey Bootie,

How are you recording your bass?

I have tracked mine with as little as a passive D.I. and just added compression.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 04:51 pm

remember, if you want the 'slap' of the bass, don't cut the extreme highs either...

Since: Dec 06, 2005

Dec 06, 2005 04:51 pm

I used a condenser mic placed in front of my amp - not quite in the center of the speaker. Not sure if that was the best method, but it was the best I could do with what I have.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 05:06 pm

if that amp has a direct out, run that into the recording, Bass often times sounds fuller and less muddy going direct...or, try recording direct AND miked, and mix the two.

Since: Apr 27, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 06:40 pm

i personally make my bass sound clearer by notching out the frequency where my kick drum is predominantely getting its low end from (usually around 63Hz) and by actually boosting my mids around 400Hz-600Hz and then scooping those same frequencies out of my kick drum track...

Since: Aug 17, 2004

Dec 06, 2005 09:39 pm

I second the boosting of mids that PA is talking about. Bass attack is in the 500 - 1 kHz range, don't want to be taking that out.

I boost my bass low Q at 80 Hz and again at 1 kHz. My kick goes in at around 120-200 Hz with a big arsed high shelf. If the bass isn't coming through I'd rather notch out other instruments frequencies than start boosting the bass's.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 06, 2005 10:58 pm

Agree mostly, but what dB is talking about with a small notch out between 300 and 400 will help immensly as well. Ya gotta have that bottom end for the thud and the top end for the smack or pop or attack as CS put it. I try desperately to not boost if I dont have too. But agree that it can be really hard to get away with not boosting at times.

As well, the mix of direct and micced can help alot as well. I dont think I have micced a bass cab in year's. Always direct to the board, sometimes through a Pre anc compressor.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Dec 07, 2005 11:26 am

I'd second the direct input approach.
Try some of the Korg's pre-sets for bass, and tweak them.

Probably a redundant statement, but....New strings?

I like to keep things as simple as possible with bass, and just add a little compression, and tweak the eq a little (multiband parametric EQ's are wonderful in this application). You'll be surprised how a bass sound that's really quite bright can smooth out once the other instruments are added.
Another thing to consider is where the bass is panned in the mix. If it's sitting right on top of another instrument, you may get some mud. I've been happy lately having the bass just to the left of centre a little - about L9 - to give just a little separation.

As touched on above, make sure that your guitars aren't sitting on the bass frequencies - cutting them at about 80Hz works for me.

Since: Dec 06, 2005

Dec 07, 2005 04:21 pm

I found that frequency analyzer utility in my Cool Edit Pro software, but all my tracks show up with a similar graph... a downward slope from left to right. I'm just not sure what to do with that info and how to apply my notching.

I'm in uncharted water here, but I really want to learn how to do this right. Should I just trial and error until I get it sounding right, or is there a better method to the madness?

Since: Dec 23, 2003

Dec 07, 2005 07:11 pm

The first thing is to make sure it's working with the kick drum. As stated you should cut the low end at 60-80Hz as there is nothing down there for bass but mud. Compare it to something that has been recorded comercially and see if you are moving too much air. Maybe you have more low end in it than you think. There could be too much low mids in the guitars as well. They may be eating up some of it. It's hard to say without hearing it, just speculation. A compressor will be helpfull if you arn't using one. If the bottoms OK and working with everything some high end will bring some clarity to it as stated. 1k to 4k depending. I also like to give the mids a little scoop. How much depends on the bass and setup. I can't help you with any analizer as I record in analog. I use my ears not my eyes, but if those tools are availible to you they may be helpful until your ears learn how it should be put together.

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